There has been a lot of debate recently about whether Canada has a competitiveness problem, with industry using it as a means to argue for tax cuts while our federal government instead focuses on matters deemed to be of greater importance, such as the rollout of its national carbon tax plan.
Unfortunately, one thing that many often forget is that capital is highly mobile and it will tell you a lot about the health of a nation’s economic prospects. While the PMO will selectively tout its own stats on the economy — such as low unemployment levels (outside of Alberta of course) — the fact of the matter is the country’s corporate environment has simply become unattractive to investors.
For example, according to Brenda LaCerda at Moody’s Analytics, net foreign flows of Canadian securities this year-to-date have reached a decade low, even lower than the 2008 financial crisis. From 2007 to 2017, foreign direct investment into Canada has collapsed nearly 75 per cent, as per Statistics Canada data. The OECD FDI Regulatory Restrictiveness Index shows that Canada’s policies on foreign investment are nearly two-and-a-half times more restrictive than the OECD country average.